On the heels of the news that Indigo Ag will expand its Memphis footprint with a $6.6 million investment over the next three years, the University of Memphis announced the launch of a new interdisciplinary research initiative in agriculture and food technologies. This initiative will compliment the booming agtech industry in the Memphis region.
The University's Division of Research & Innovation's newest research cluster will leverage expertise in core biological, chemical and environmental science research alongside expertise in big data, artificial intelligence and engineering, the U of M will seed interdisciplinary research that will contribute new knowledge and solutions to agriculture and food industry challenges.
"We are uniquely positioned to bring expertise that will help address opportunities within this field as it rapidly moves to adopt technology solutions to challenges in food safety and quality, fraud management, logistics and new product development in a highly regulated environment."
- Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal, executive vice president for Research and Innovation, University of Memphis
"This initiative supports the regional push to attract new agriculture and food technology companies and bring good jobs to our region," said Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal, executive vice president for Research and Innovation. "We are uniquely positioned to bring expertise that will help address opportunities within this field as it rapidly moves to adopt technology solutions to challenges in food safety and quality, fraud management, logistics and new product development in a highly regulated environment."
The Agriculture and Food Technologies Research Cluster will be housed at the FedEx Institute of Technology and co-led by Dr. Duane McKenna, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, and Dr. Pratik Banerjee, associate professor in the School of Public Health. McKenna is a world-renowned entomologist who studies the evolution and genomic basis of plant-feeding and interactions between beetles and plants. Banerjee is an expert on food safety, regulatory policy and the molecular, immunological and cell biological aspects of host-microbes and host-environmental hazard interactions. They will be joined in this effort by faculty with expertise in plant/crop research, bioproducts development, food processing and packaging, immunology, water resources, computer and network security, and chemical analysis.
For more information on this initiative, contact Dhaliwal at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about research opportunities at the UofM, visit https://www.memphis.edu/research; for more information on the FedEx Institute of Technology and other supported research clusters, visit https://www.memphis.edu/fedex.